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Old 02-25-2017, 06:47 AM   #1
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Winnebago Industries having financial problems?

Just read this news report from Globe Gazette... any more info?

"Rumors of layoffs at Winnebago’s Forest City, Iowa, motorhome plant caught local officials off guard on February 16. Since the RV builder wouldn’t return phone calls, it probably proved a bit nerve-wracking for some, since there were already concerns about the company’s situation. “Winnie” now says there were indeed layoffs – about 25 manufacturing workers in what the company describes as a ” workforce pacing adjustment” that will see them back at work in four weeks. "Source: globegazette.com.
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:25 AM   #2
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Maybe. They apparently are also cutting benefits to retirees.
Winnebago is Ending Post-Retirement Healthcare | RV Business
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Old 02-25-2017, 08:28 AM   #3
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Maybe. They apparently are also cutting benefits to retirees.
Winnebago is Ending Post-Retirement Healthcare | RV Business


Explains a lot about recent poor quality. With the RV business booming expected better
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Old 02-25-2017, 09:47 AM   #4
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the reason Winnie stays in business is that they adjust to the market. Products are only built when someone orders one. They are not built and then sold to dealers. Each dealer must custom order a product for their lot and resale. They do not have "stock" sitting on their storage lots.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:00 AM   #5
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They are ending health care benefits for employees over 65 which seems logical to me. At that point, folks are usually on Medicare and have the premium taken out of their social security benefit. Supplemental plans vary in costs but are affordable for most. At the rising cost of medical insurance, I doubt few people will get "paid for" medical insurance in retirement.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:04 AM   #6
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Explains a lot about recent poor quality. With the RV business booming expected better
OK, I think I've seen one post re poor quality in 2017 production trailers. Can I ask what other basis you have for your generalization re poor quality? I'm not being critical and nor am I some loyal Winnebago fan. I'm pleased with my unit, but if I were to see that their quality control has slipped, I wouldn't hesitate to say so and look elsewhere when and if we replace our Minnie.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:04 AM   #7
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Post retirement health care benefits are pretty much a thing of the past in the private sector, unless it is a union negotiated benefit that can't be cut or a government sector benefit.
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Old 02-25-2017, 10:25 AM   #8
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I sat in a meeting where the new CEO Michael Happe spoke at GNR last July. He talked about his goals of making sure WGO remained financially strong. He also said WGO needed to make sure their stock holders were properly reworded also. He told us he was going to do a study on the cost of operating the company Jet that sits out at the Forest City Airport. He said if they could charter an airplane when they need one that costs less than owning their own jet he would take a hard look at that. I think Mr. Happe is a very smart individual and WGO will remain financially strong.


As far as Medical Insurance costs for retires, that is costing many Corporations and Municipalities funds they can't afford to continue or they may go broke. These entities promised these benefits when they were much cheaper and more affordable. When we hear the term "unfunded mandates" many times that may be what is being referred to.

JMHO;

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Old 02-25-2017, 11:22 AM   #9
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Older article showing Winnebago has had these problems awhile...

Manufacturing Inefficiencies Drag on Winnebago Revenue: The number of shipped motor homes drops 5.4% due to labor issues (WSJ 12/17/2015)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/manufac...nue-1450356778
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by scbwr View Post
OK, I think I've seen one post re poor quality in 2017 production trailers. Can I ask what other basis you have for your generalization re poor quality? I'm not being critical and nor am I some loyal Winnebago fan. I'm pleased with my unit, but if I were to see that their quality control has slipped, I wouldn't hesitate to say so and look elsewhere when and if we replace our Minnie.
I'm with Bartts re: recent poor quality of Winnies. Have read several RV forum threads where people reported multiple defects right off the lot. Big ones, long lasting too. Several had to do with the brand of slide out mechanisms they used lately. Don't have any URLs to share though.

Oh, wait, here's one: Thread...
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Old 02-25-2017, 11:40 AM   #11
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Just taking a look at Winnebago's Fiscal 2015 Annual Report (2016's isn't on the internet yet). Fiscal Year 2015 revenue was about $1 billion (up). Cash on hand about $70 million and $0 (zero) debt at the end of Fiscal 2015. Winnebago stock is near a five-year high, selling at around $33/share.

That does not sound like a company that is having financial difficulties, quite the opposite. Winnebago has always been a conservatively managed company, operating out of cash flow and cash reserves. They managed through the recession very nicely whereas lots of other RV manufacturers went out of business.

Winnebago Industries, Inc. Annual Report 2015
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Old 02-25-2017, 12:49 PM   #12
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Labor shortage

Quote:
Originally Posted by bartts View Post
Manufacturing Inefficiencies Drag on Winnebago Revenue: The number of shipped motor homes drops 5.4% due to labor issues (WSJ 12/17/2015)

https://www.wsj.com/articles/manufac...nue-1450356778
The quoted WSJ article does not detail what the "labor problems or inefficiencies" were. They have to do with available labor supply shortage as described in their 2015 annual report:

"Our motorized production facilities are located in largely rural areas of northern Iowa. In addition, the unemployment rate in these
areas is currently low. These factors limit our ability to increase motorized production volumes at a more rapid pace even if
motorized demand justified increased production."

Winnebago main facilities are located in a sparsely populated rural area of Iowa so it is common for Winnebago to use up the available labor pool. Winnebago has opened new facilities in adjacent counties (and in Oregon) and also near metropolitan areas in order to address labor shortages.

In addition, Winnebago had some employees working in lower margin production facilities, so they closed those facilities and moved the employees to the main production plant to help out the shortage of labor, thus becoming more efficient.

I have no connection to Winnebago whatsoever, I just find that it's a very interesting company with a long successful storied history. I did visit their headquarters once and was very impressed with the quality of their personnel and their customer service.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:25 PM   #13
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Winnebago does build some units without an order. It is sometimes done to help even out production flow and/or allow quick response to a dealer order.They are built with the most popular option packages.
When we were on a factory tour a few years ago the guide pointed out the spec units and explained what they were.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #14
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I picked up my View at Lichtsinn's in January. Speaking to a Winnebago retiree who lives in Forest City, the biggest worry is that the new CEO's office is in Minneapolis and he's moved many of the support functions (HR, etc) up to the Twin Cities. With a Forest City factory that was built in the early 70's and a smaller labor pool (as cited in posts above), there is also a fear that a new factory would be built somewhere other than Forest City.
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